best transition ever: grandparenting
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Her birthday passed and to be honest it was a little sad

March 4, 2009 | by Natalie Caine | 22 Comments

By Natalie Caine |

Well, her birthday passed and to be honest it was a little sad. No decorations at home, no favorite dinner for her, no being together to make wishes and watch her open her presents as her friends gathered at the house. The good news is, she has wonderful new friends, who made a treasure hunt for her through out the day, stopped by her dorm room with hugs and wishes , and went down town for a birthday dinner.. sounds fun to me..

She called from the restaurant and dear heart that she is, she had all the kids yell”HI MOM”to me over the phone.. once again her independence and thoughtfulness shined through and I reminded myself that the day is about her, not me. Her wings were flapping and new friends were in the nest. Just as it should be. My husband and I had a simple dinner by the fire and he listened to me chat about the old birthday parties. By the way, she loved the birthday care-package of candles, jewelry and a mushy mother daughter card. So turning 19 away from home was a good thing.. just very different and another marker on the path. 

22 Responses

  1. Jane says:

    My son, my baby, will turn 21 away from home and it makes me feel sad.

  2. Yolanda says:

    I am about to become an empty nester and I am having a really hard time with it

    • Lon says:

      I just happened upon this website and saw your post. I am also going to be an empty nester and having a hard time. I have three children and they all will be leaving in the next few weeks. My oldest got a job in San Antonio Texas( we live in Va), my middle guy is moving in with his girlfriend and my daughter is away at school. My boys are moving out just a few weeks apart from each other. I think that is what is the hardest part. I also learned a very good friend of mine is moving in May. It’s almost to much to handle at one time. I apologize for going on and on.

      • Kim says:

        I just saw this post. I am becoming an empty nester in about 2 weeks and I am having a very hard time with it. My daughter is 18 and is going off to college. How did everything turn out for you?

    • Sharon says:

      When do you become one?
      I have been since June.

  3. Joanie says:

    I am the mother of a 23 and 19 yr old sons. My 23 yr old just informed us that his girlfriend is pregnant and they will be getting married in 3 months. I feel like I am dead inside. Feel like I am losing my son. Just got over him moving to different city for work. Help!!!

  4. Elaine says:

    I have just become an empty nester and I feel lost. The house so empty with just my husband and I there. My son moved out with his girlfriend and I seem to be having difficulty dealing with the fact that she has all the influence with him. I’m not at all sure she has his best interest at heart. My husband and I have grown apart over the years so maybe we can take this time to reconnect.

    • Penny G. says:

      Jackie I am a mom that is going through the same as you experienced. what do you do. I do not ever hear from my 24 yr.old; and my 20 year old tauhts me with not calling. I am a wreck. I just am out of open heart surgery and nobody was there. Nobody. Ive been alone and miserable.

  5. Jackie says:

    I have been in this transition phase for 4 long years now – it does get better in some ways. I like the peace and quiet when I am home alone, but I still get a bit wistful when I think too much about the past. My sons are now 21 and 24, and the older one is out of contact for a week or more at a time. Younger one still chats with me on Skype daily, but he too, will soon be making his own way in the world as it should be. My regret is that I too easily sacrificed my own interests for theirs as they grew up. Now I need a new focus but nothing really appeals to me. I guess there’s no magic solution.

    • Jeanie says:

      I found this blog quite by accident and am thankful to read similar thoughts and feelings that I am experiencing. When does it end? “Empty nest” feelings come and go. This Christmas was overwhelming. The sadness took me by such surprise. It was so hard to put on a feeling of gratutide this past week. So many losses this time of year.
      My goal, pick up and start again on working the empty nest program…..

  6. Abby says:

    My son is 21 and transferred to a different college away from his home town. He struggles with ADD and failed his first audition; he just moved into the dorms two days ago. I am a mess, missing him so much and worried. This is an awful experience for mothers.

  7. Cynthia says:

    I’m so glad to find this blog. I’m a few weeks into my “newly-configured nest” as I’m trying to think of it, and I have so many mixed emotions, it’s sometimes hard to know what I’m even feeling. So excited for my “single star” son for his adventures at college, and missing him terribly, to enjoying not cooking much (I cooked sooo much for him) and not being sure how this next phase will unfold. My one friend said she felt like she birthed her children a second time when they went off to college. I get it now. Birthing my son was the most painful and beautiful thing I’ve ever done in my life. Looks like I’m birthing again. “Play it again, Sam!”

  8. Ellen says:

    Finding this blog was by accident but I’m glad I did. My 24-year-old son moved across the country and has been out-of-touch for a few weeks. As a single parent, it feels like a death. Some of his things are still here, his room is empty and so am I. No amount of mental preparation has prepared me nor could it. The emotional toll is nothing short of numbing yet tears are a constant. It is a loss of monumental proportions

    • Sharon says:

      Ellen, I feel quite the same. I’m a single parent too. I can’t even remove silly things she put up in her bathroom. The loss is so huge I can’t even cry unless I’m supported by a therapist or friends at the time.
      I hope you’re ok.

  9. Grace says:

    My daughter is moving with her father a few hours away. My son Eric died just a few months ago. I also lost my beautiful daughter Sara a few years ago. Both are in heaven now. I have two boys living in a different state. My daughter is moving next week! I have been so sad. I have spent the past 26 years being a mom. Now what? So happy that I found this forum. It makes me feel that I too am not alone. My son died only a few months ago and now this. Working and spending the remaining days with my daughter. My best friend of 22 years can’t handle how much pain I am in. Seeing a tharipist God what’s going on?

  10. Yolanda says:

    My son will be going away for college and the feeling of him leaving is unbearable. I have another 16 year old daughter that will still be home but just imagining he will be leaving in a couple of months brings me to tears. I know it’s time for him to fly on his own but it really is hard to just imagine him gone. Not looking forward to the day we drop him off at college. He is my huger he is always hugging me and always makes me feel so needed. I love my other two girls but I just feel like I’m loosing a part of me. I never had this relationship with my parents.

  11. Nina says:

    I’m afraid the feelings of loss will never end. My son is 27, and has been away at graduate school for a few years. I’m divorced, so we were really close. I feel lost. I’m trying to re-build my life, but being a mother was the best job I ever had. I just can’t find my place in the world now.

  12. julie says:

    my 16 year old daughter left 4 months ago to live with her dad and is ignoring me…she was my best friend and im sick of crying, im also a single parent but life goes on….its the worst thing ever to have happened to me and im a strong person

  13. Kim says:

    My only daughter leaves for college in 2 weeks. She is my life. I’ve lost all of my other supports because of death. I feel like once she leaves I will have nothing. How has everyone else coped with this?

  14. Lynne Nelson says:

    I am experiencing major depression and anxiety due to our 3 kids with our grandkids moving out of state. When they went off to college I did ok and after being an LVN who had quit to stay home with them so didn’t want to go back to that so I took massage school. That helped for awhile until almost 2 years ago when my mom died and dad moved away to be by brothers and my kids with grandkids all moved at about the same time. THe first year I had a good attitude but now I can’t handle being alone, I have tried volunteering but even that doesn’t help. It is like trying to make new friends and reach out which is so hard. I feel like such a downer. We did get a puppy thinking it would help and it has just a little but it sure doesn’t replace family. I feel so stuck and wonder how long I will keep crying. I have been to psych and tried different Meds and trying to redirect my thoughts but so hard. I feel so alone and lost. It is so hard to make the adult and parent in me comfort myself. I pray to god a lot. I think a job may help but I feel so inadequate and down that I don’t think I could handle a job. Can anyone relate? Flying is hard for me too.

    • Stephanie Allbritton says:

      I am going through major depression and anxiety also. My son leaves in 8 days for college and being a mom is my life. I also have no friends to relate to and am seeing psych trying meds. This hurts so Much! I don’the know how I will get through! I relate Lynne!

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